House Passes Bill Allowing State to Implement "ABLE" Act
“ABLE” ACT gives families of the disabled greater financial freedom
April 11, 2016
(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - Families and those with disabilities are a step closer to having greater financial freedom and security following House passage of a bill by Rep. Dan Saddler to implement the federal “ABLE” Act in Alaska.
House Bill 188 would let individuals and families set up tax-free savings accounts to help pay for education, housing, transportation or other expenses for children or adults with disabilities.
“HB188 and the ABLE Act empower Alaskans with disabilities and their families to build their financial independency,” said Saddler, R-JBER/Eagle River. “The bills for care and their future are sometimes a challenge and the current system in Alaska doesn’t give them the ability to meet their needs. By passing the bill, we can give them the stability and flexibility to meet their life challenges without eroding or lessening the value of their public benefits.”
The Achieving a Better Life Experience” (ABLE) Act, passed the U.S. Congress in 2014, and created 529A accounts, modeled after successful college savings programs offered under Section 529 of the IRS code. Individuals with disabilities would be able to improve their financial security by using private investments to supplement their benefits from insurance, employment, Supplemental Security Income (SSI,) Medicaid, and other sources.
The Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education estimates that the 13,770 Alaskans with disabilities could be eligible for the ABLE accounts. “This is an important tool for helping Alaskans live full, productive lives in their communities,” said Saddler.
The bill proposes that the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority will pay the startup and marketing costs to advertise the new program, which would limit contributions to $14,000 per year and allow only one account per individual. Total contributions to the account would be capped at $400,000. An ABLE account also would not be subject to means testing required for Medicaid or SSI.
“Thanks to my colleagues in the House, and the sponsor of the companion bill in the other body, Senator Cathy Giessel,” said Saddler. “Alaskans with special needs and those who care for them deserve the same access to financial freedom afforded to home buyers, college students or retirees.”
HB188, which passed unanimously, moves to the Alaska Senate.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
Source of News:
Alaska House Majority
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